Allison Herrera

Indigenous Affairs reporter

Allison Herrera is a radio and print journalist who's worked as a reporter for PRI's The World, as the climate and environment editor for Colorado Public Radio and as a freelance reporter for High Country News’ Indigenous Affairs desk.

While at The World, she covered gender and equity for a reporting project called Across Women’s Lives, which focused on women’s rights around the globe. This project took her to Ukraine, where Herrera showcased the country’s global surrogacy industry, and reported on families who were desperate to escape the ongoing civil war that they moved to abandoned towns near the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site. In 2019, she received a fellowship from the International Women in Media Fund to report on the issue of reproductive rights in Argentina, a country scarred by the effects of the Dirty War and a legacy of sexual and physical abuse directed towards women.

In 2015 and 2016, Herrera co-created and produced the Localore project Invisible Nations with KOSU. The project included video, radio and live events centered on telling better stories about Native American life in Oklahoma. Invisible Nations received several awards from the Associated Press and the Society of Professional Journalists.

In 2017, she and her colleague Ziva Branstetter received an Emmy award nomination for their Reveal story “Does the Time Fit the Crime?,” which centered on criminal justice in Oklahoma.

In 2019, Herrera’s story for High Country News and Center for Public Integrity titled "When Disaster Strikes, Indigenous Communities Receive Unequal Disaster Aid" received a Scripps Howard nomination for best environmental reporting along with the One Disaster Away series.

Herrera’s Native ties are from her Xolon Salinan tribal heritage; her family’s traditional village was in the Toro Creek area of the Central California coast.

Ways to Connect

The Shawnee Tribe in northeast Oklahoma has filed a federal lawsuit claiming the Trump administration undercounted the tribe, costing them millions of dollars in CARES Act funds.

The lawsuit was filed last Thursday, June 18 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma and claims that the Trump administration used inaccurate data from an Indian Housing Block Grant which says the tribe's population is zero. The Shawnee responded by saying that is a "practical impossibility."

The Sac and Fox Nation announced on Monday that two of their casinos would be temporarily closed.

The Nation received news that one of their gaming employees tested positive for COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution, they are taking precautionary measures by closing the Black Hawk Casino in Shawnee and the Sac and Fox Casino in Stroud.

Both casinos will be cleaned and disinfected. No opening date has been set.

Jamie Glisson

The Oklahoma Public Media Exchange as part of Oklahoma Engaged is continuing to cover the developing story around Juneteenth celebrations, Donald Trump's rally and protests in Tulsa from June 19-21, 2020. Bookmark this page for the latest updates.

Shane Brown

As a weekend of Juneteenth celebrations and demonstrations approaches in Tulsa, African Americans and Indigenous People are coming together in Oklahoma to show solidarity against racism and police brutality.

Allison Herrera

When I visited Quapaw Nation's beef processing plant in 2018, it was less than a year old. The building was still pretty shiny and cattle and bison grazed on a vast field. They had a dozen or so employees and were in the process of getting one of the first Native Americans ⁠— a young Quapaw man ⁠— to be trained as a USDA meat inspector. Today, a lot has changed.

The Osage Nation will close their 41-year-old Head Start program at the end of June due to budget constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Osage Nation Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear said the Nation could face a $16 million budget shortfall after casinos were closed for two months.

Cherokee Nation

Two Confederate monuments have been removed from the Cherokee Nation Capitol Square in Tahlequah.

The first was a fountain memorializing Confederate soldiers and General Stand Watie was dedicated in 1913 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. A second monument also honored Watie and was also dedicated by the UDC in 1921.

The monuments were placed in the square when the property was a county courthouse and owned by the State of Oklahoma. They were not placed by the Cherokee Nation, which reclaimed ownership  of the square in 1979.

By default, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the federal agency that governs agreements between states and tribes, has approved the gaming compacts Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt entered into in April with the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe.

The U.S. Department of the Interior has approved gaming compacts Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt entered into with two tribes in April.

The 45-day deadline for the Department of the Interior to approve the gaming compacts between Stitt and the Comanche Nation and the Otoe-Missouria Tribe ended on June 7. The department took no action, which means the agreements can take effect once they're published in the Federal Register.

The Osage Nation Health Services reported six new cases of COVID-19 over the past week.

According to a statement from the Wah-Zha-Zhi Health Center, all six individuals were employees of the Osage Nation. Those who came into close contact with the individuals were ordered to self-isolate and quarantine themselves.